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May 23, 2021

Even Mark Zuckerberg is selling off Facebook stock

Here were the words of one top money man last week regarding Facebook stock:

“This baby’s got legs!”

I was speaking with the investor, who I’ll allow to remain nameless in light of how his prediction's turned out, ahead of the social network’s IPO, when speculators seemed to be split in two camps: 1) Facebook doesn’t earn; stay away, and 2) Anything with 900 million-plus users can’t possibly flop; get in while it’s still cheap.

In four days of trading, Facebook certainly hasn’t shown it has legs, and today a tough harbinger has hit the company. Even Mark Zuckerberg is selling.

According to securities filings published late yesterday, Facebook’s founder and CEO has sold off 30.2 million shares of the social network. Zuckerberg made $1.13 billion in the sale.

*Bing: How to know when a stock will soar, flop

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who was also Facebook’s very first investor back in 2004, sold 16.8 million of his own shares, too, for gross proceeds of $633 million.

Top company officials selling their stock was to be expected after Facebook hit the market, and indeed the moves may be formalities more than anything.

But it’s still a tough omen for the fate of Facebook’s public life that its face, founder and top man, Zuckerberg, appears to be fleeing the scene. Facebook stock traded around $31.90 mid-day Wednesday, more than six bucks less than it debuted at Friday.

Worse, the PR headaches don’t stop there for Facebook's trading. As its stock flounders, the social network is being sued by its shareholders, who allege Facebook hid weakened growth forecasts ahead of its IPO last week. 

The money manager I spoke with intimated Facebook would have “legs,” suggesting it would trade at or above its IPO list price for weeks to come.

It may well still. But so far, it appears Facebook’s legs are broken.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...